Genre: Suspense/ Comedy
Director: Pen-Ek Ratanaruang
TRASH CINEMA RECOMMENDED MOVIE
6ixtynin9 catches you by surprise. When Tum (Lalita Panyopas) gets downsized from a financial services firm, you expect a gently comedic drama about spiritual values. But for most of the running time of the picture, writer/director Pen-Ek Ratanaruang has something more scabrous in mind.
While Tum is running suicidal fantasies through her mind, she hears her doorbell ring. When she opens the door, there is a noodle box in front of it. Imagine her surprise when the box is full of money. Of course, that spells trouble.
From here on in, we’re primed for a comedy of errors and terrors, which is exactly what we get. But here’s the thing — movies like this rise and fall on execution and cleverness, and director Pen-Ek Ratanaruang is blessed with an extremely clever script from writer Pen-Ek Ratanaruang. Pen-Ek Ratanaruang creates an absurd Buddhist puzzle from obscene phone calls, blowjobs, mobsters, policemen, and neighbors asking to borrow fish sauce (the movie takes place in Thailand).
The acting, from Sirisin Siripornsmathikul, Lalita Panyopas, Prompop Lee, Tasanawalai Ongartittichai, and Black Phomtong is perfect for the material, broad but naturalistic enough to make sense.
The biggest flaw that I can see is that after a take no prisoners 90 minutes, writer/director Pen-Ek Ratanaruang goes soft on us at the last possible moment, giving us an ending which is as phony as it is sanctimonious.
As good as 6ixtynin9 is, I have to dock it half a star for that ending, but I still urge you to check it out. I laughed out loud in surprised delight a half a dozen times.
I have to mention one oddity. The star, Lalita Panyopas, has a face as homely as a potato, but everyone keeps mentioning how attractive she is. It must be because she’s pale and has vaguely European features. Her friend in the picture, actress Tasanawalai Ongartittichai, is the real beauty. Go figure.